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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  December 22, 2010 1:00am-2:00am EST

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the main thing is to keep the main thing the main tinge. that line appears in a profile of mississippi governor hallie barber in the conservative "weekly standard." it turns out the main thing is hallie barber trying to e haley bauer boyer. >> he seemed to essentially say, sure, the civil rights movement, that was fine. >> this is going to be bad news for the mississippi governor. >> governor of mississippi, outgoing chair of the republican governors association, potential contender for candidate caught in a lie about his state's racist history. >> the thee is, he with, it wasn't that bad.
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>> how could anybody say about the civil rights era i just don't remember it being that bad? >> it wasn't that bad for haley barbour. >> well, if you happened to be black, that was a different story. one day the governor is trying to explain what he meant when he defended a segregationist group and ignored the violence that -- >> the citizens council is totally indefensive. enchts nobody could construt that to mean i think the town leadership were saints.
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>> i'm glad that occurred to him in the year 2010. >> one considered a contender for 2012, the governor's gaff has him desperately scrambling to keep hope alive, his hope for the presidency. >> it's going to make it difficult for him to be a national candidate. >> even some republicans are say haley's barbour's run at the white house may already by over. >> relitigating the civil rights movement is not the way to do that. >> he's a smart guy. what's he thinking? good evening from los angeles. i'm lawrence o'donnell. former mississippi governor and aspiring 2012 republican presidential candidate hall ey barbour knows he's in trouble, from his original statement to
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the flip-flop of that statement. it didn't take long at all. we're talking about 24 hours. in a new "weekly standard" article entitled "the boy frommia from yazoo city," quote, you heard of the citizens counselles. yes, the citizens council did take those steps against the leading black citizens of yazoo city, mississippi, who had signed an naacp petition calling for integration. barbour also says in the article
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that he went to see martin luther king jr. speak, but he didn't hear what reverend king was saying, because barbour was distracted by girls. his overall take on segregation in yazoo city in mississippi, joining me now are the reverend jesse jackson, founder and president of the rainbow push coalition, and matt cooper, white house managing editor for "the national journal." here's haley barbour's statement
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so reverend jackson, in his new statement, not that bad becomes difficult and painful. and the citizens council goes from being praised to suddenly being totally indefensible. now, you were there, you were in mississippi in those years. which view of his story is right? >> well, actually it was called the white citizens council. that's what it was really called. this is what happened when you trivialize rachelle -- and you have selective memory. it was not -- they never asked dr. king or rabbi hashel to come
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speak at one of their rallies, for example. they believed in segregation, sedition and states' rights. they were a violent group. we knew them by white sheets by night and black robes and blue suits by day. it was a painful era, and was again the great american dream we are now are closer to. >> matt cooper, we dismantled this statement, showing as it was the white citizens council. they changed their name as they moved into the '60s, but they didn't change their objectives. what do you see in a potential candidate for the republican nomination going into this territory. is this -- was this deliberate? was this a gaff? his way of trying to win the south carolina primary? what is this?
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>> well, you know, it's hard to look into his mind, lawrence, but i think any southern politician in the last 30, 40 years who's had national ambitions has recognized they have to say something profound and serious about civil rights, whether it was jimmy carter on or mike huckabee in arkansas or bill clinton or al gore, you had to acknowledge the region's painful history with seriousness and move on from there. he clearly has not been in the new south tradition. to sort of liken the citizens counsel also to forward-thinking business leaders to ease their communities into desegregation is absurd. citizens councils were formed to fight integration. that's why they were formed in the mid '50s. >> go ahead, reverend. >> lawrence, the largest single industry in yazoo city is a
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federal penitentiary. that state today is 36% black in prison, 76% black, so just beneath the new layer of racial relations in that state, the depth of the institution racism remains very much in place today. one would think that one -- to think about the role that bill clinton played, or even george bush to a more civil state it seems that haley barbour is still in the past and trivializing the situation puts him in an awkward position. >> reverend jackson, you're the only lucky one in this group of us tonight who was ever at a martin luther king speech. you got to hear him speak. haley barbour in trying to make light of how difficult the conditions were in mississippi
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at the time says that he attended a martin luther king speech, and has no memory of what dr. king said. he trivializes himself in the effort to say that things in yazoo city were smoother than they were. can you imagine him going out onto the presidential campaign trail with his witness to dr. martin luther king being, yeah, i went to one of his speeches, but i didn't really listen to it? >> well, to come to the speech and not listen -- is another reason. one gets the impression here when dr. king spoke in the '63 speech about southern governors lips dripping with notification into position, that's what he was talking about, where these states believed that the fellow government demanding public accommodations for all citizens, the right to vote, those are the
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people who thought that they were inter -- and thought that they were stopping out of line. there was no rebellion against that system by those that wore white sheets by night, those who wore blue suits and black robes by day. i think the governor, given his exposure today would not send that signal. there's a lot of code going on now, whether you try to marginalize an african-american president, he's a lawyer, he's not christian, he was not born here, this eeps the for what kind of coding words are being used today to make the same message. >> i for one never thought haley barbour had a chance at the nomination, but if he were to enter the field it's kind of unimaginable where he would be
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in a debate where a reporter would not be asking about this. do you think he could ever get to the point in the campaign where this just became old news and in the next debate he wouldn't be asked about it? >> i don't know, lawrence. it's a very forgiving country, and i think, you know -- i can't predict, but i think, you know, if he went out, talked about the issues a lot, it might seem insincere, but, you know, he may approach them with the seniorsness that they demand. what's striking to me, you mentioned the republican party. if you look at what rand paul said when he was running for senate in kentucky, questioning whether he would have supported the 1964 civil rights act, first he said he wouldn't, then he said he would. now you have a lot of republicans talking about amending the 14th amendment, so that illegal immigrants who were born here wouldn't be american citizens. we're seeing a lot of issues that we thought were settled that no one wanted to revisit suddenly being opened up. i'm fascinated about this beyond haley barbour. >> do you think the president has a role in a controversy look this? i don't mean in a an immediate responsible, but in the general public education that's included
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in this discussion, and by public education i'm not limiting it to classrooms. i'm thinking about a population have very large numbers of respondents can say they believe things that are absolutely untrue, never happened, and believe different conspiracy theories. it seems to me it is sadly not that difficult in the public education of this country to miseducate people with the notion that segregation wasn't so bad, and in some places segregation was livable and the dismantling of segregation was something that made sense, happened in a smooth way and easily achieved. do you work that our public education over time can be degraded by these kinds of comments and do we need someone at the presidential level to counter this kind much thinking? >> my father came from world war ii a veteran and had, as a soldier, had to sit behind white nazi p.o.w.s that laughed at them.
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i was jailed in 1960 trying to use a public library. i was 25 years old before we had the right to vote. i watch people like -- being rushed off to grave yards by this kind of terrorism. so it is very real in my life. i would think the president should not make the error of coming down to haley barbour's level, but keep affirming the higher ground. that is to say this, that today most poor people or white female and young -- 59 americans without health insurance and 49 million in poverty, 41 million looking for food stamps, keep embracing the bigger, broad america and don't come down to this level. i think that would be an error. >> reverend jesse jackson and matt cooper, thank you both for helping keep history alive on this program tonight. thank you, both. >> thank you.
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>> thank you. the lame-duck session of congress continues. congressman bargy franks is with us. and later why is palin bucking many in her party to criticize michelle obama for trying to tackle the problem of childhood obesity? some people think allstate only protects your car. here's the truth. allstate can also protect your home or apartment, as well as your boat, motorcycle, rv, and snowmobile, and even your retirement and your life. not many insurance companies can say that. but allstate can. now that you know the truth, know this: the more of your world you put in good hands, the more you can save. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate.
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bonuses down, but the cash still keeps getting to the executives. and later larry david thanks the republicans for his huge tax cut. le announcer ] this is steven, a busy man.
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two years after the near collapse of the american finance system, wall street bonuses are said to be way down. as much as 28%, according to "wall street journal." did the new financial reform law really take a bite out of the greed and excess? well, not so far "new york times" found those in the executive suites have nothing to fear, and those much further down the food chain -- it's those much farther down the food chain who are losing their bonuses. they won't face a crisis either. that's because they're trading the bonuses for big fat raises. morgan stanley and credit sweet doubled the salary for the managing directors, and the times says wall street's biggest
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firms are still paying out bonuses this year to the tune of $90 billion. democratic congressman barney frank chairs the financial services committee, was one of the chief authors of the financial reform law. congressman frank, what if anything has changed when it comes to those bonuses now that year law is in effect? >> nothing yet, because it's not in effect yet. the law only passed this summer, and the regulations are being implemented. there are two aspects that are relevant. one for all companies, now just financial companies, if it's a publicly owned company with shareholders, we pan date once a year there be a vote by the shareholders on the proxy form inform they can say they think the compensation should be rejected. in england that's had a good effect in a couple cases. it hasn't taken effect yet in the united states, because there
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has not been a round of proxy voting yet, but yes, there will be, and frankly it ought to be up to the shareholders. if it is shareholders want to allow this level of compensation, it's their company. we did get a lot of resistance from the executives and directors. they don't think the shareholders can do this. the shareholders are often pension funds and other institutional investors, so we do expect to be good influence there, but it hasn't taken effect yet. secondly another piece only deals with financial companies. here frankly was not simply the amount was the problem, but the incentive structure. the problem is they had a bonus structure, heads i win, tails i break even, that is, that it was very clear that they were given an incentive to takes risks. now both of those are in the bill. what we were focussing on with the regulators is not the amount they pay, that's up to the shareholders, but we don't want it to be so structured as to give them an incentive to take risks. we do get some reports now in anticipation that more of the money being paid is being paid in shares that don't vest or
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don't get paid off for a couple years. the other point is that also hasn't taken effect. we main dated every regulate or to put rules in place that prohibit the kind of bonus structure that gives an incentive to take a risk, because you make money if it pays off and not if you don't. we included that there be call-backs, if people get a bonus and it turns out to be risky, they get it back. in neither case have they taken effect yet. let me throw in one other thing. why i did not like the tax deal, because much of the -- you know, we were being told if we went from 36 to 39% what a terrible thing that would be for the small businessman. the great bulk of the money to go on to the deficit, because
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we're keeping the rate at 36% rather than 39% is in these very large a little. congressman frank, what interests me in what you were saying about the new lay law is what you seem to be saying is that really what that was about was empowering shareholders, whereas it's portrayed by republican critics as being some oppressive regulatory regime that will somehow kill financial services businesses in this country when what you seem to be saying is you're not making the decisions about how these companies should run themselves. you're trying to invest the shareholders with a newfound power of enforcement. >> there's a lot of right-wing rhetoric they don't really mean. all this concern about the deficit evaporated overnight when they were able to give large tax reductions to the richest people in the country. when it comes to helping wealthy
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people with tax breaks, the philosophy seems tore deficit-schme-ficit. that's all we do with most corporations. what we do is say the shareholders get the vote once a year, it doesn't cost any more money, there's an annual proxy form, and we do get -- there isn't any question that the structure of bonuses had people taking risks. ben bernanke has said that, the head of the british services said that. here's the thing. if the shareholders want to pay you millions, that's the shareholders' money, they'll decide. we think they'll be a restraining influence, but the way you pay then is not an incent i have been to take big risks. and if the risk blows up, they don't lose a nickel. tomorrow the president will
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sigh the repeal of don't ask/don't tell. put that in perspective for us in the lame-duck session, in fact the full session of congress, with all the wins and losses, how big a win is that? >> it's enormous. it is comparable to what happened, obviously there are a lot of differences in this situation, but it's comparable to the 1964 civil rights act. it's an overwhelming national statement. very large vote supported by the president that discriminating based on sexual orientation is wrong. i am intrigued, i hope i live long enough to hear haley barbour barbour's reinterpretation of this, when we learned how good this was for all the happy gay people, but it's an enormous move forward. what we're sea is if you're competent to defend this country, to go into battle, to do the most difficult, challenging jobs possible, you're competent to do anything. it's an enormous step forward,
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and very proud day today. speaker pelosi had an enrollment ceremony. and others were great, at the end, with hundreds of people there, including these young people, we sang "god bless america." it reminded me a singing so much a part of the civil rights movement that i participated in. >> congressman barney frank, it's an honor for me, congressman, at this moment to congratulate you personally on getting don't ask/don't tell passed tonight. >> thank you very much. sarah palin using s'mores of all things to attack the first-lady. is the pro-obesity stance further proof she will never run as president is it. an update of the generosity of our viewers who have contributed to the k.i.n.d. fund? i'll speak with a teacher who changed her curriculum to demonstrate the need. we've saved people a lot of money on car insurance. feels nice going into the holidays.
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your response that we launched last thursday has been, well, no word seems adequate. our goal is to get desks to school students in the african country of malawi, and a little later we'll show you just how generous you have been so far. first, i want to share something from r. ellison, a high school
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teacher who watched my original report on malawi schools. on morchd morning, my high school classes walked into my room and discovered that all of the desks and chairs were missing. including my own chair. my desk was too heavy to move easily. after doing some review work and other class business, i showed them the segment. many were as taken by the story as i was. several students are now plans a fund-raiser at my school. i told them i would match 25% of what they raise up to the first $1,000 they collect. i think they are looking forward to me chipping in $too. thank you for bringing this to our attention. >> that's just one of the inspiring stories we have collected since this drive began
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last week. we will continue to bring you such stories and later we'll have the latest tally of contributions that unicef has processed. hint -- unicef has never seen anything like your response. and with 25% off our best selling jewelry, together we'll find the perfect gift, right down to the wire. that's why only zales is the diamond store. both cost the same, but only the pringles superstack can makes everything pop! ♪ hey [ male announcer ] same cost but a lot more fun. everything pops with the pringles superstack can!
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in the spotlight tonight on sunday's episode of sarah palin's alaska, the most recent losing vice presidential candidate who will never be president, was hungry for some s'mores, and some attention for attacking the first lady of the united states. >> where's the s'mores ingredients? this is in hon are michelle obama who said the other day we should not have dessert. >> sarah palin's comment was a response to something the first lady said last july while promoting her let's move campaign to curb childhood obiasity. >> kids won't like it at first,
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trust me, but they'll grow to like it. or deciding that they don't get dessert with every meal. as i tell my kids, dessert is not a right. or they don't get it every day. >> palin ace criticism of the first lady acampaign puts her out of step with senate republicans. last week with the support of let's move, the president signed the $4.5 billion healthy hunger-free kids act. the bill passed the senate unanimously. that's right, not a single republican vote against it. it gives the usda the authority to set nutritional standards for foods sold in schools and increases federal reimbursement for free school lunches so schools can afford to serve healthier options. joining me now, msnbc political analyst richard wolfe, the
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author of "revival, the struggle for survive inside the obama white house." this isn't the first time she is brought this up. let's listen to laura ingram's radio show. >> she's telling us she cannot >> richard, sarah palin, i'm not sure we can quite figure out how wise or thoughtful she is, but she's calculating. she is an extremely calculating politician.
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what is the calculation here on deciding to attack the first lady? >> well, she's built up a caricature, or other people have built it up, and she's enjoying it, exploiting it, tearing it apart. it's sensationalist, it's also, of course wrong, plain wrong. her characterization of mrs. obama's policy, of the legislation, none of that is true. the interesting thing is, look, if this is her philosophical position, fine, but at least try to be consistent. there was this great interview in "runner's world" in august of '09 with one sarah palin. there she talks not only about the inspirational example of her own father training for a boston marathon and eating healthy, she says, but she talks at length about how grateful she is for title ix. what is title ix. that was the result of federal policy, federal dollars being
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exercised, by the way, at the state level? it's attention grabbing, it's sensationalist, may make for great talk radio on tv, but it doesn't make for a good presidential candidate. >> do you think sarah palin feels there's some sort of audacity that's necessary for her to be quoted by us, if she were to say something reasonable that maybe it would just fall quietly and people wouldn't pick it up, that the way for her to get noticed is to get more and more audacious and outrageous in these kinds of comments? >> i'm sure she can get more audacious and outrageous than this. this is pretty mild for her. what is her signature move? when you think about how barack obama burst on the national stage in 2004, it was about
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bringing the country together. how did she burst onto the stage? be taking a swipe. even though, let's face it, the kind of politics she laments, people attacking her own family, is exactly what she's doing here. mrs. obama has moved into a policy field, but she notes a politician's wife. what is she doing? she's playing into that there's no limits into what you can say about this family, about their principles, about their patriotism, and you can caricature what they're trying to do, no matter what, just to get that point, that punch in. >> is there something about the simplicity about the subject, that sarah palin would rather talk about s'mores and desserts than the s. salt treaty, for example? >> i think there's something about the caricature about being
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socialist that they're tapping into. it's about playing on people's fears, that they're trying to tell you what do do. remember how modest the first lady's proposals are, $4.5 billion is actually really about the child nutrition reauthorization reauthorization. it's about re-funding children's meals. what kind of christian principles do you espouse if you're not helping the kids of this country. this is about children who cannot make their own food chis. >> richard wolffee. thanks for joining us tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. larry david is very grateful to republicans for giving him a tax cut, or is she in that's coming up. ann coulter says liberals aren't as generous as conservatives. let's here what she says, on the amount of money you have donated to african schools. [ j. weissman ] it was 1975.
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ann coulter calls liberate stingy when it comes to charitable donation. that earns her tonight's "rewrite." larry david is thanking the gop for his tax cut. what's up with that? time for tonight's "rewrite. back. [ ding ] [ in korean ] how may i help you? do you have something for pain? oh, bayer aspirin? oh, no, no, no... i'm not having a heart attack. it's my back. trust me. it works great for pain. [ male announcer ] nothing's proven to relieve pain better than extra strength bayer aspirin. it rushes relief to the site of pain. no matter where you're hurting. thanks for the tip. [ male announcer ] for powerful pain relief, use bayer aspirin. and to fight pain and fatigue in the morning, try bayer a.m., the morning pain reliever. everyone's eating tacos outside bill's office. [ chuckles ] you think that is some information
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i would have liked to know? i like tacos. you invited eric? i thought eric gave you the creeps. [ phone buzzes ] oh. [ chuckles ] yeah. hey. [ male announcer ] don't be left behind. get it first with at&t. the nation's fastest mobile broadband network. period. rethink possible. consider this: these duracell batteries were given... to the mattel children's hospital, u.c.l.a. because when it comes to kids and healing... you're not just powering a toy. you're powering a smile. duracell. trusted everywhere. time for tonight's "rewrite. it all started with a column by bill o'reilly, which included a reference to jesus christ's attitude towards charity.
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then comedy central's theologian in chief stephen colbert god involved. >> so is papa bear bill o'reilly, in his weekly column, he wrote every fair-minded person should support government safety nets for people who need assistance through no fault of their own. but guys -- for them the baby jesus wants you to provide no matter the circumstance, but being a christian, i know that while jesus promoted charity at the highest level, he was not self-destructive. good point, bill. jesus said we only have to love those who deserve it. what i like best about bill's argument is its complete factual inaccuracy, because it would be inconvenient to guys like us to repeal what jesus actually said. for instance, if someone -- rich people should sell all their possess and give money to the
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poor. jesus way way best ondestructive. the guy is god. he could have floated off that cross like k kcriss angel mindfreak. i love how at the closes that that jesus said that, who i think benjamin franklin said that. >> of course, there was no chance of colbert going unanswered on the o'reilly factor, where bill turned for theological guidance to, who else, ann coulter. >> the fundamental problem is liberals think sending a check to the i.r.s. constitutes charity. that's not charities. christians understand that when you say why americans are the most generous -- no, conservatives are, as liberals are the least charitable with their monies, conservatives, the
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most charitial and nancy pelosi considers it charitable giving to contribute to the san francisco ballet, whereas christians are actually giving to poor people. >> okay. liberals are the least charitable with their money. really, ann? consider the response of this program's audience, which surely has some liberals in it to my plea for donations to the k.i.n.d. fund, kids in need of desks. last week i announced this unique partnership to raise money for desks for school children in africa who now sit on dirt floors or cement floors. the desks were supplying to these schools are made in malawi, so the contribution to buy a desk also helps stimulate the malawi economy, provide jobs for the workers who will make those deskings and enable them to feed their families. the response to my announcement,
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as i reported last night, has been more than we could have ever reasonably expected. as of last night, unicef had processed over $600,000 in contributions to the k.i.n.d. fund. in the last 24 hours, we've raised even more. so far, unicef has processed contributions in the amount of $727,991. so the video i showed last week of me delivering just 30 desks to one classroom in palau we has begotten another 15,166 desks. the desks are designed to unicef specifications to seat two children. at the school i delivered desks to, three children easily squeezed onto that little bench. so in five days, it is charitable outpouring of the audience of this show will be supplying desk this is year to
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over 30,000 students, and over the lifespan of those desks, they will probably be used by a couple of hundred thousand students who were otherwise going to be sitting on the floor in the dirt every day of their school lives. these desks, by the way, are the perfect last-minute christmas gift for people who have everything, or people who have just about enough. for $48, you can donate a desk in the name of the recipient of your choice, and the recipient will get an e-mail notification from unicef that you have made this gift in his or her name. for only $24, you can get one student off the floor. to donate go to our website, or call 1-800-for-kids. unicef has never seen a response like this to any of their programs. we are well on our way for
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provides desks for three of the four districts in malawi that we have targeted for our initial delivery, but the desk problem is virtually unlimited in africa, and it will be many years before african students can come to expect to see desks in their classrooms. so, ann, i'm not going to fight with you about who is more charitable. i'm going to allow the astonishing kindness and generosity of my audience to serve as the response to your statement liberals are the least charitable with their money. and i beg you, ann, to now show us just how charitable conservatives can be with their money. $48 a desk, $720 for a classroom. come on, ann, you can afford a classroom. and, hey, if you can get rush involved, he can buy desks for
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every kid in pa malawi, and ann, that e-mail from unicef, that's not spam. i just bought you a desk for christmas. merry christmas, ann. other makeup can sit on the surface of your skin, so it looks but trublend has skin twin technology to actually merge with your skin. you get skin twin coverage that's perfectly true. and you're more perfectly you. [ female announcer ] plus, with trublend, you always get a perfect match. if you're a shade 1 here, you're a 1 here... and here. how easy breezy beautiful is that? trublend...from covergirl. [ male announcer ] you know her. we know diamonds. and with 25% off our best selling jewelry, together we'll find the perfect gift, right down to the wire. that's why only zales is the diamond store.
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the extension of the bush era tax rates are already being celebrated by one high-profile member of the highest tax bracket. seinfeld co-creator and creator and star of hba's "curb your enthusiasm" larry david wrote an op-ed called "thanks for the tax cut." larry david is the first supporter of barack obama and other liberal democrats to thank the gop for his tax cut.
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joining some to consider is former secretary of labor and professor of public policy for the university of california berkeley robert reich. robert reich, i'm a little worried about what the top bracket is going to do with that money, the super-rich especially. most analysis indicates there won't be very much stimulative activity from what they do. but don't we run the risk now of forever having republicans claim
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that whatever stimulative effect occurs next year in the economy is all due toed top tax bracket going first class it's going to be a gain next year $100,000, that he or she never should have expected, never had any right to expect, that the bush tax cut, never included, and that hundred,000 could buy a lot of desks in malawi. it could do a lot of good things if that hundred,000 were put back into actual revenues, taxes, it could shrink the federal deficit, but instead it's going to be doing a lot of other things, for the very rich, including being put into savings that find their way around the world to either highest return. so there's not very much stimulus. every dollar of extra tax break that the rich get is not turned
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around in their jobs in the united states. again it's turned around more likely into savings that go everywhere around the world to wherever they can get the highest return. >> there's the package that the obama compromise includes a bunch of different items, some of which have much greater stimulative effect than the others yet all thrown together politically as whatever -- however the economy picks up next year in 2011, will each party or each arguer in politics will assign to whatever piece of that compromise he wants, the stimulative effect. isn't that one of the great sort of theoretical losses. >> not just a theoretical loss, i think it's a practical, political loss. by the time 2012 comes around, the economy is likely to be
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doing better than it's doing now. let's face it, everything that goes down eventually comes up. it's going to be very easy with republicans, particularly republicans who control the house of representatives is because we all extended the bush tax cut for everybody. now try in an election year, 2012 to raise taxes on the super rich, if you can't do it this year, it's going to be much harder to do it in 2012. don't they have to specifically start targeting the super rich and think about brackets way above 250,000? how about $250 million having its own tax bracket? i would be in favor of that. i'll tell you why, we haven't